Pumpkin Pasta

10 minutes
35 minutes
45 minutes
4 to 5
Pumpkin is not only for sweet desserts, it tastes incredible in savory recipes as well like this creamy Pumpkin Pasta! The brown butter and sage pair so well with the warm pumpkin flavor to create the best fall pasta experience!
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Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin is not only for sweet desserts, it tastes incredible in savory recipes as well like this creamy Pumpkin Pasta! The brown butter and sage pair so well with the warm pumpkin flavor to create the best fall pasta experience!

The Pasta

My favorite pasta to use for this is penne! However, you can really use any pasta shape you like. Here are just some options I would go for:

  • rigatoni
  • cellentani
  • rotini

Just boil the pasta to al dente or a minute past al dente according to package directions in salted water.

Reserve half a cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta once cooked and that’s it! I like to boil the pasta as I start working on the sauce so everything is done at the same time.

The Pumpkin Sauce

If you are hesitant to try this recipe because you can only imagine pumpkin puree in your pumpkin spice latte and not in pasta, think again! I think I might like pumpkin in savory dishes over sweet ones now just because of this one recipe.

Here is everything you need for the sauce:

  • unsalted butter
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • tomato paste
  • pumpkin puree
  • heavy cream
  • parmesan
  • sage
  • nutmeg
  • paprika
  • onion powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper

Start by adding butter and oil to a pan over medium-low heat. Cook the butter down for a few minutes to brown it. This will add an extremely nutty-rich flavor that pairs well with the pumpkin puree.

Once the butter is browned, add the garlic, toast for a minute, and then add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste down for 3 to 4 minutes to cut down the acidity. The tomato paste will deepen in color. Now add the pumpkin puree, whisk, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Now add the heavy cream and the reserved pasta water. Whisk again to have a smooth sauce. Then it’s time to incorporate lots of flavor with parmesan, nutmeg, paprika, sage, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Mix it all in, taste, and adjust anything to your liking.

Serve with more parmesan on top to enjoy!

Variations to Try

  • Instead of using canned pumpkin puree, roast your own pumpkin to make your own puree. The flavor will be ten times better! Here are instructions on how to roast a pumpkin.
  • You can omit the tomato paste or add less if you want a more prominent pumpkin taste but I like that it enhances the orange color!
  • Add a sprinkle of brown sugar to the pumpkin puree to bring out the sweet nutty flavor – just a small sprinkle.
  • If you want to add protein to this dish, you can opt for ground beef, Italian turkey or chicken sausage, or even chicken!

Looking for More Pasta? Try These Recipes Out!

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Pumpkin Pasta

Pumpkin is not only for sweet desserts, it tastes incredible in savory recipes as well like this creamy Pumpkin Pasta! The brown butter and sage pair so well with the warm pumpkin flavor to create the best fall pasta experience!

Pumpkin is not only for sweet desserts, it tastes incredible in savory recipes as well like this creamy Pumpkin Pasta! The brown butter and sage pair so well with the warm pumpkin flavor to create the best fall pasta experience!

10 minutes
35 minutes
45 minutes
4 to 5

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces penne pasta or rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, more to taste
  • 3 to 4 leaves sage, chopped
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Throw in the pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of pasta water and then drain.
  2. In a saucepan, add the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Allow the butter to toast and brown and then add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. The tomato paste will darken in color from a bright red to reddish brown.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree and mix together. Cook down the pumpkin puree for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream and mix until incorporated. Simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the reserved pasta water and whisk together to thin out the sauce.
  6. Finally, add the grated parmesan, sage, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix into the sauce, taste, and adjust anything to your taste.
  7. Toss in the cooked pasta and mix to coat evenly.
  8. Serve with more parmesan on top!
Tips & Notes
  • This is optional but highly recommended. Adding a sprinkle of brown sugar to the pumpkin puree brings out the pumpkin flavor even more!
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I just made this and it was delicious! The sauce is so creamy and silky, and I love the sweet and spicy flavor combination. Will definitely be making again.

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